Vince Lornigan has a problem. He is addicted to tickling. He rolls over and his fingers feverishly start fidgeting away under the arms and knees of his wife. “Gilly gilly!” he yips, giggling like a child. “Get away from me you freak!” she hollers, delivering him a hefty shove of her elbow into the gut. “Ooomph!” he gasps, winded, and falls to the floor. “You’ve got a problem,” his wife yells for the umpteenth time. “This tickling thing is getting out of hand. You need help. You need a 12-step program.” “I deny that!” says Vince, rising unsteadily to his feet. “Classic denial symptoms!” snaps his wife. “Go talk to a counsellor or else I’m divorcing you and marrying a fireman instead.”Heavy of heart, Vince finds himself at his first ever Ticklers Anonymous (TA) meeting. He must chant with the others:

“I admitted that I was powerless over my tickling habit. I decided to put my faith in God and with His help, strive every day to stop my dangerous and self-destructive addiction to tickling.”

But saying the word “God” makes Vince feel like he is choking on a tennis ball.

“What’s with this God thing?” he inquires of the group facilitator. Oh no, now he’s not merely asking a question, he is following his quivering fingers which seem to be magnetically drawn to the group facilitator’s tummy. “Bloody hell!” yells the group facilitator. “Get a grip, Vince! Oh – Hee! Hee! No, stop it….Whoa… That actually felt good. Stop it! FOR THE LOVE OF BABY JESUS, STOP TICKLING ME, VINCE!”

Vince tears his frenetic hands away and dashes madly from the room. “Oh no oh no oh no,” he stammers. He sees an attractive female officer on the pavement in front of him.

“I’m in for it now!”

He runs right into the police officer, and his hands can’t refrain from tickling her as if she were a little girl.

“You thug!” she screams, finally recovering her composure sufficiently to get her gun out of its holster. “I’ll shoot you if you don’t back up.”

“Please,” Vince begs, “Don’t shoot! I’ve hit rock bottom. I’ve snapped. I’m now totally at the mercy of this terrible vice!”

“You’re going straight to the slammer for assaulting an officer of the peace,” says the cop. Vince’s fingers are twitching. He knows she’ll splatter his brains on the sidewalk if he even pokes her gently with his pinkie, but oh, he can’t help it. Can’t help it!

“Watch out for my fingers!” he yells.

Mere hours later, Vince finds himself in the remand centre. He shares a cell with a man who calls himself the Punisher.

“Why do you call yourself the Punisher?” asks Vince, his fingers nervously squirming in his pockets. The Punisher sees this, and thunders, “Quit playing with yourself!”

But, oh no, it’s happening again!

“Coochie coochie coochie coo!” Vince laughs hysterically. “Here come the funny fingers! Bend over! Who’s going to be punished now? Are you a silly billy? Do you like the silly-tickles???”

But the Punisher isn’t as understanding as Vince’s wife, or the group facilitator, or even the female cop. He grips Vince in a headlock and proceeds to smash the giggling tickler’s cranium into his knee. Vince’s body drops limply to the floor. The Punisher then lifts his size 15 boot and stomps it down mercilessly onto Vince’s neck!

“That’s why they call me the Punisher!” roars the Punisher.

Vince dies instantly of massive head injuries and from choking on gratuitous amounts of his own blood!

And that is the story of the tragic death of the Silly Tickler, who entered into Alberta mythology just as soon as he was buried.

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